PICASSO Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris @ the AGO

May 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

The AGO’s latest summer blockbuster, “PICASSO Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris,” absolutely lives up to the hype.  The eagerly awaited exhibition takes on the colossal task of mapping out the prolific career of painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso. In so doing this AGO retrospective exemplifies Pablo Picasso’s extraordinary imagination as the show not only tracks the evolution of the artist’s legion of styles, but also, the motifs that encapsulated each period of Picasso’s 70 year career.

La Celestina (1904)

Right off the bat, I was struck by “PICASSO Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris” as the gallery’s lead-in corridor is not at all typical. The entryway is painted bright red, adorned with pictures of various stages of the artist’s life (some of the most notable photographs are of Picasso in his famous Montrouge studio) and beautifully complimented by a loop of flamenco music bursting through the gallery speakers. The exhibition’s main space is then broken up into 8 large rooms, each representing a unique approach within Picasso’s creative pursuits. These individual rooms are organized chronologically and cover every seminal phase of the modern master’s diverse career.  The sub-headings of these rooms include: the artist’s initial move to Paris, his fixation with African art, the advent of Cubism, Classicism and Surrealism, the artist’s involvement in politically activated painting, and finally, his last years of life.

While this exhibition contains a considerable amount of important pieces by Pablo Picasso, some of the show’s major highlights include: intricate African-inspired sketch work, including studies for the 1907 masterpiece “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” the 1904 Blue Period painting “La Celestina,” and, “Man with a Guitar,” a piece from 1911 that helped to lay the groundwork for the Cubist movement.

The Kiss (1925)

Another focus of “PICASSO Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris” is the variety of women in Picasso’s personal life, and, more specifically, how each female effectively molded the artist’s creative output.  Two of Picasso’s represented female love interests are Olga Khokhlova, who figures in “The Kiss” (1925), and Dora Maar, who inspired Picasso’s 1937, “Weeping Woman” series.

PICASSO Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris runs until Aug. 26, 2012

– Stella Melchiori

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